It was this summer that I got an internship in NYC. Yes, overwhelming New York with thousands, if not tens of thousands of restaurants. From Pizza places, sushi, Italian, Chinese, one, two or three Michelin stars, Japanese Omakase, and hundreds of fast-food places, yes including Shake Shack, Chik-fil-a, among others.
I had several goals for the summer. First off, professionally, I wanted to expand my network, have a great summer internship, learn and gain new experience in the Tech Industry. I worked at Agoda.com, a Priceline Group company. This was a first big step to enter the travel industry. Travel means for me, visiting new places and dining out. By the way, Priceline owns and operates Open Table. My best friend for the summer.
First, I decided to look for an app where I could make reservations and gain points. No brainer, Open Table. I knew it already, I had it and had just some couple hundred points. Each reservation you make, no matter what time, what restaurant or if its rush hour, they give you 100 points. After 2000 points you can get a gift card applied to any Open Table restaurant, an Amazon Gift card or other perks. After 5000, you get $50. Also, this is a great way to check reviews and official photos of the restaurant. I usually use reviews from Google and sometimes Zagat and then go to reserve on Open Table. There are always better apps depending on what you want to make of it. For example:
1. Reservations: Open Table
2. “Good” / Trustworthy Restaurants: Zagat
3. Reviews: Google (Never below 4.0 stars)
4. Chose places and/or dishes: Instagram: Tryit.Wortheat (more on this later)
Second, I started looking for places, restaurants, social media apps that gave me ideas of where to go. Zagat? Micheline Guide? Too expensive, too ordinary? Is Zagat really worth it? Is it what it used to be ten years back. Now a day EVERY “good” restaurant is Zagat rated. Is it trustworthy?
The first thing I did was use a very “complicated” but very effective way of marketing. Word-of-mouth… However, I asked three different people that lived in NYC and are big fans of good eating, and in the restaurant list of the three of them, only 3-4 were among the three list. My point, there are way too many “good” restaurants in NYC. After narrowing my list down by looking at restaurant websites and Instagram, I managed to get a list of the restaurants I was going to go.
Third, I use IG the most when trying to look for food. Who in this class, hasn’t taken a picture of their food and somehow uploaded to IG, FB or sent it through text message? This is a trend among Millennials. Not sure if the food is good or not but the photo will be taken. I looked for many accounts that tried to showcase ONLY good restaurants. I found a couple that can be helpful for readers here. Tryit.WorthEat, eatdeliciousnyc, and sofiaeatsnyc.
Some accounts have thousands and thousands of followers, but what I learned here, is that it does not matter the number of followers but the content. As I have said it before content is King. After looking for several accounts that would help me figure out where to eat, these were also recommended by a couple of local neighborhood friends of NY.
Fourth, New York is a crowded place. Shake Shack at Madison (the original and first Shack) had a line of 100 tourists waiting in line for an average burger. Today’s world of technology, apps, and online ordering made my life VERY simple. What tourists don’t know is that if you download the app beforehand, you can order and just pick up. This way I never had to wait for my lunch. The same with Chick-Fil-A. Imagine the place near Times Square, the line went out the door, around the block.
Finally, there are always many reasons to order in. NYC had Uber Eats, amazingly useful app, together with Amazon Restaurants. Easier to order than GrubHub, faster, cheaper and the workers or delivery guys much better. We have heard about GrubHub and the huge business they are doing, but here comes Amazon with Whole Foods and other couple apps that can compete with the biggest.
In conclusion, I am an avid eater and traveler, and if one thing I need to get right is where I sit and eat my lunch and dinner. There are millions of accounts you could use for food or drink but only a couple that are really useful and trustworthy. So next time you travel to NYC, check out those accounts and you will not regret it.